Now is the time to act together to achieve SDGs: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said it is time to work together to achieve the public health goals outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
"This involves helping countries with less resources to improve their ability to handle health risks," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing the two-day International Conference on Public Health and Diplomacy held at a city hotel.
Hasina said the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that all are connected, regardless of how isolated they feel.
"None of us can be truly safe until we make sure everyone is safe. Now is the time to work together globally to achieve the public health goals outlined in Sustainable Development Goal-3 and Goal-17," she said.
She mentioned that it is crucial to have a strong commitment from all countries and focused diplomatic efforts to achieve this.
"I believe Bangladesh will play a leading role in this effort, considering its past success in protecting public health and dealing with the impact of the pandemic," she said.
In this connection, the prime minister put forward five recommendations for regional cooperation.
First, further coordinated actions to ensure enhanced preparedness for and harmonised response to future health emergencies.
Second, work together to eliminate preventable communicable diseases and share good practices on addressing the growing non-communicable disease burdens.
Third, give attention to mainstreaming mental health in national health systems and also collaborate on fatal public health hazards like drowning and accidents.
Fourth, mobilise combined facilities for medical education and research, with particular focus on tackling tropical diseases further aggravated by climate impacts.
Fifth, we must consider the health of mothers, children and adolescents as the benchmark of our achievements with SDG-3, with the aim of promoting Universal Health Coverage across the region.
"Let us work together to ensure that global health governance, with WHO at the center, can meaningfully serve our entire humanity in the next 75 years and beyond. Let us help each other and share our experiences," she said.
Hasina said Bangladesh did not forget about the 1.2 million Rohingyas who sought shelter from neighbouring Myanmar during the Covid pandemic period.
"With the help of development partners Bangladesh made extensive preparations to offer them regular check-ups, vaccinations, and healthcare services," she said.
The PM said that it should not be forgotten that this huge population residing in Bangladesh has always been a humanitarian crisis and a security concern for this region.
"Only their safe and dignified return to Myanmar can ensure a sustainable solution to this crisis. And I hope that Myanmar will take back their nationals very soon," she added.
Mentioning that Covid-19 pandemic hit Bangladesh like other countries in early 2020, the prime minister said that her country has been able to reduce the loss of human lives and keep the economy running due to the continuation of its long-standing activities in the health sector and the timely action of the government.
In this connection, she mentioned that with the help of development partners, Bangladesh was able to purchase and administer vaccines at the earliest.
"We've provided Covid-19 vaccination to 100 percent of eligible people in our country free of cost," she said.
She also said Bangladesh ranks among the top five countries in the world in overall Covid management and recovery.